Victims can help shape effective counter-terrorism strategies, says senior UN official

Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism briefs the Security Council Meeting on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

9 November 2017 – Surviving victims can help shape effective strategies to counter terrorism, a senior United Nations counter-terrorism official said on Thursday, pledging to provide practical, pragmatic and realistic support to victims.

“Victims are powerful and credible messengers,” the Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov, at a roundtable discussion on victims’ resiliency in New York. “And I promise that we will continue to make victims our priority,” he added.

To rectify a deficit of information on and for victims, the UN Victims of Terrorism Support Portal was created in June 2014. It has grown in strength, attracting more and more users to its site, he said.

The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism has also commissioned a series of documentaries on victims of terrorism. Created together with the Department of Public Information (DPI), the series provides a platform to give victims a voice on a variety of issues.

At Thursday’s event, the documentary Surviving Terrorism: Victims’ Voices from Norway, offered an intimate portrayal of two victims of the July 2011 mass killings by Anders Breivik.

The film showed the lives of Ms. Kamzy Gunaratnam and Mr. Viljar Hanssen as they recover from the attack and turn their experiences into something positive.

“Building a resilient society is a powerful tool in the fight against terrorism,” Mr. Voronkov said at the earlier discussion. “A society that is resilient is more likely to uphold human rights and the rule of law, and not give into the grievances of terrorists.”


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